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WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. government has decided to take an additional 45 days to review a Chinese company's plan to purchase Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer said on Wednesday in a statement that expressed confidence the deal would close in the second half of 2013.
The sale of Virginia-based Smithfield, which has more than 46,000 employees in 25 states and four countries, to Shuanghui International Holdings for $4.7 billion would be the biggest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company.
The companies submitted the deal in June to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, an executive branch panel that examines foreign investment for potential threats to national security.
Many deals are approved during an initial 30-day review, but some transactions are given a second 45-day examination.
"Smithfield and Shuanghui International remain committed to working cooperatively with CFIUS throughout the process," Smithfield said in the statement confirming it had been notified of the panel's plan for an extended review.
"The CFIUS process is confidential and Smithfield and Shuanghui International do not intend to comment further on that process while it is ongoing. Smithfield and Shuanghui International continue to expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2013," the company added.